Chemla Research Group
Research Interest
The Chemla lab studies mechanical processes in biology. Our interests range from how proteins interact with DNA - bending, wrapping, or translocating along the molecule - to how cells swim and process information from the environment. We use state-of-the-art biophysical techniques such as optical tweezers and fluorescence to detect such processes at the level of a single molecule or cell. These techniques are extremely powerful since they are not subject to the averaging artifacts of traditional ensemble biochemical methods.
Students in the Chemla group work on all facets of research: design and construction of instrumentation, development of biological systems, and quantitative analysis and modeling of collected data. Interested students and postdocs with backgrounds in physics, biology, chemistry, or related fields are welcome to contact Prof. Chemla.
Lab Highlights
November 2023
Congratulations to Alice on her successful Ph.D. defense!
October 2023
Suoang's paper "Optical traps induce fluorophore photobleaching by two-photon excitation" was accepted in Biophysical Journal!
October 2023
Aniket's paper "Rapid automated 3-D pose estimation of larval zebrafish using a physical model-trained neural network" was accepted in PLoS Computational Biology!
August 2023
Congratulations to Aniket on his successful Ph.D. defense!
March 2023
Aniket is giving a talk at the American Physical Society (APS) Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada!
February 2023
Alice is giving a talk at the Biophysical Society (BPS) Annual Meeting in San Diego, California!
December 2022
Congratulations to Dr. Sean Carney on his successful Ph.D. defense!
August 2022
Sean received the Best Graduate Student Speaker prize at the 6th Midwest Single-molecule Workshop in Omaha, Nebraska. Congratulations!
News Spotlight
Prof. Chemla received 2016 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research
Yann Chemla is among the 5 associate professors to receive Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research from College of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The recipients of this award have been judged by their colleagues to have conducted the best research during the past five academic years. [Full Story]
Meet Barbara in our group
Barbara Stekas, a physics Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, talks about why she loves studying individual DNA strands, how much she enjoys living in Champaign-Urbana and gives potential graduate students some good advice.
Structure and function of proteins in DNA repair
By combining two highly innovative experimental techniques, scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have for the first time simultaneously observed the structure and the correlated function of specific proteins critical in the repair of DNA, providing definitive answers to some highly debated questions, and opening up new avenues of inquiry and exciting new possibilities for biological engineering. Working in collaboration, Ha and Chemla each applied the above techniques in their laboratories, with conclusive results. The findings of these experiments have been published in two separate articles in the April 17 issue of the journal Science. [Full Story]
Our research group is funded by
NSF Center for Physics of Living Cells
National Institute of Health
National Science Foundation
Burroughs Wellcome Fund
Department of Physics, UIUC